• JPC

East Meath must receive ‘special status’ in Garda restructuring

Paddy McQuillan Drew Harris
Independent councillor Paddy McQuillan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

Drogheda Borough Council’s Paddy McQuillan has called on the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to provide special status to East Meath as part of the restructuring of Garda divisions nationwide – calling the current situation a “very grey area.”

The issue of policing in the area of the county boundary was one of the central themes of the combined Joint Policing Committee meeting held in Dunleer on Friday afternoon where Commissioner Harris answered questions about the restructuring of the Garda Divisions nationwide.

The Louth Garda Division will be amalgamated with the existing Cavan/Monaghan Division, headquartered in Drogheda. But speakers at the meeting, including Independent councillor McQuillan said that East Meath should be included within the division – given the county boundary splits Drogheda , creating situations he describes as “a nonsense.”

Speaking to LouthNow.ie, Cllr McQuillan said that a situation in Rosevale in Drogheda, which is split by the Louth/Meath border, recently saw two neighbours call Gardai – only to be responded two by officers from two different stations, Drogheda and Ashbourne.

An incident last week saw Gardai in Ashbourne called to a respond to a break-in at Drogheda Retail Park, despite Drogheda Station being located just 3km away.

“It’s not going to be workable. I will be bringing it up again at the JPC to keep it in the mind of the Superintendent,” he said. “They need to get it right from the start. They don’t want to be coming back to this and fixing it up down the line. If they give it some time at the start, look at the issue that people have highlighted – if it can be addressed right from the start, it would make things a lot easier.

“It doesn’t make sense. They’re going to be dealing with the same issues in two jurisdictions. It is a real grey area. If they can address it from the onset, it will alleviate any issues going forward. It is important for the people of Drogheda.”

At Friday’s meeting, Cllr McQuillan requested that special status be given to East Meath, to allow it to be included in the new Cavan, Monaghan and Louth division.

In response, Harris said, “We will make sure that our boundaries are sensible and coherent in terms of operational response. We’ll look at this particular issue.”

Five divisions including Meath/Westmeath have been selected to form phase one of the rollout of the new, larger divisions. As part of the restructuring, the Divisional Headquarters but Superintendents, Inspectors, Sergeants and their teams will be dispersed throughout regions and divisions.

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